Origami Girl

Sunday, 13 July 2014

In which it is all about cyber and vampires


I just finished reading Laurie Penny's Cybersexism, a published essay that gave me a well needed kick up the ass.

If you're not spending your time under the thrall of Twitter or reading the leftie British comment pieces or worshipping Molly Crabapple, she may have slipped you by. Laurie Penny is a UK political and popular culture journalist. She's also about my age, interested in Internet rights, looks like an extra from a My Chemical Romance video, and writes in a tone that is both confident and confessional.

Cybersexism is the second of her essay-style published works I've bought. The first one was Discordia: Six Nights in Crisis Athens which was a fascinating piece of modern journalism accompanied by Molly Crabapplie's ever fantastic art. It's why I really love it when Laurie Penny does write about politics, rather than feminism because I think she has a really great skill for highlighting unseen stories. However, sexism clearly pisses her off. And of course, editors do like getting women to write about being women, rather than about the rise of European Fascism.

All that being said, I really got a lot out of Cybersexism. She covers a whole load of topics around the Internet. Why the cyberpunk writing vision of a place where gender is irrelevant became a place became a place where a woman blogging about comics has to worry about her physical safety.

But Laurie Penny's piece is not just a theorum or a nostalgic musing on the early days of the web. It's inspiring and friendly.
It told me not to wilt under the cry of attention seeking.
It told me that just because I can write doesn't mean I can't code. That I shouldn't hold onto this idea that maths is not for me. and I can learn anything I want to.
It reminded that I don't have to be a coder or hacker-nerd to be fighting for Internet rights.
It reminded me that I wrote a second dissertation just for fun on Harraway and cyborgs in The Wolves in the Walls. How I loved that line about existing in the in-between spaces. That I too would rather be a cyborg than a goddess.

I grew up on Sheroes, a feminist forum for teenagers, where I learnt about the evils of slut shaming from a cheerleader turned professional boxing teacher. Where the writer I admired most responded to the trigger warninged rants of teenager girls on the busiest section of the forum. So, the Internet has always been about feminism and justice for me, but it's also been about community. It's why I love blogging, and why I found the essay very close to home. And why I have hope that the Internet still can be for everyone.

Funnily enough she also has a new book out just now called Unspeakable Things which also includes a fair chunk of Cybersexism I've heard. That's why I just got round to reading the book before that... You should see my to read list.

Angry faces
Happy Faces
Obviously the proper use of Edgar Allan Poe is modelling your collection of Lego monsters.

I also love my Lego monsters. I used my 2 latest figures, my gorgeous vampire couple to illustrate this piece. I built them out of the jumble of body part boxes at the Lego Store where you can make your own people. They are also almost nothing to do with my review of the essay, I just really liked the pictures.


  1. Sounds like a really interesting read. Although I'm sure I've really come across much of this on the internet.

  2. cool!


  3. Ah! This sounds like such a good read! I've been devouring books this past week and a half--I think I finished like 5 in that span? I also love that you described her as confident and confessional.

    And of course, I adore your lego minifigs. The Lego Store is the coolest place, I think. I need to build my own and stick one on a keychain. ;)

  4. Nuts. Your blog ate a post I just wrote that was kind of relevent. It touched on how the cyberpunk vision of a gender blind internet may itself be a form of misogyny or even a way of continuing misogyny and the post also mentioned the just world fallacy. I felt like I might have contributed in some small way by making such a post or at least got your opinion on my opinion.. and then nom! It got eaten up.

    Anyway though! I do enjoy your thoughts on stuff you've read. Especially when you provide links to the stuff where I can buy it cheaply (if you find decent stuff to read for free, plz post more links to those, haha)

    I remember Tamora Pierce was involved in Sheroes somehow, but is she the author you mention that replied to trigger worthy rants? Sheroes was always far more your thing than mine. But yeah, if it was her, that's amazing.

  5. I have never heard of her before but the book sounds great! I think we all need a wake up call every now and then and this books sounds like it does just that! I will have to check it out! Loved your use of Lego people!